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CPR Class

I did a CPR class at CPR Seattle the other day. It was really nice and I learnt some new stuff. Here is what you do when there’s a cardiac arrest and a person is unresponsive. This is just *my understanding* of the situation – it is NOT a replacement for any training.

  • Clear the scene. Make sure no one else gets hurt while you’re attending to this patient.
  • Try and make the patient respond. If its an adult or grown child, gently slap his/her face. If its a baby, slap the feet.
  • If there’s no response, feel for a pulse in the neck for an adult (carotid), the femoral (thigh) artery or for a baby, the brachial artery (inner arm)
  • At the same time watch for the chest heaving. If there is nothing, the person may not be breathing.
  • Say loudly that you’re going to start CPR, and get people around you to call 911 and get an AED.
  • Start giving CPR. Keep one hand on the center of the chest , put the other hand on top and push down firmly. Let the chest rebound back. About 100-120 compressions a minute is what is needed.
  • Keep your elbows straight and push down rhythmically. Don’t do it too hard or jerkily. Every compression must be perfect.
  • For babies, use just fingers to give compressions. With children maybe a single hand might be enough, decide based on the size of the child.
  • Every 30 compressions, tilt the person’s head back to clear their airways and give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. 2 breaths inside 10 seconds and go back to giving CPR.
  • Don’t breathe in too hard. Breathe just enough so the person’s chest rises.
  • Repeat 5 cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths. If the person has still not risen, its time to use the AED.
  • Let someone else do compressions after 2 minutes at most if that’s possible.

Using an AED:Connect the AED (defibrillator) so it turns on. Follow its directions. Usually this is as follows:

  • Attach pads to patient. One is near the top of the right shoulder, the other below the left-sided ribs. This is so the heart is between the pads.
  • The AED tries to analyse the patients rhythms (VT/VF). If normal, the AED will not shock the patient.
  • If it decides there is a problem, it will tell you to stay clear. Do NOT touch the patient at this point.
  • A shock will be administered and the AED will charge again.
  • Make sure that you continue administering high quality compressions and breaths while the AED charges
  • Once the AED tells you to stay clear, stay clear.
  • Press the button and a shock will be administered.
  • Repeat till the person opens their eyes and regains consciousness.
  • For children there might be a switch to turn it into child mode. If this is not there, use the adult AED – its better than doing nothing.


I visited Anchorage, Alaska a while back just to peek around and see how it was. It sort of made sense since Seattle is one of the cities that is closest on the USA coast to Anchorage. The trip as a whole was great and I had quite a lot of fun. And of course it made me explore how people lived there in general.

There’s a lot of dependence on hunting animals and fishing in Alaska. Mainly because its just hard to grow plants and vegetables, the climate just doesn’t permit it. Meaning there just aren’t any vegetarian/vegan restaurants around and it’d be very hard for me to live there. In fact, there aren’t even many grocery stores around that I can go and buy food from, unless I had a car. And I began to think a little.

How much in our current lives do we take for granted? We expect that everything will still be there the next morning when we wake up. And they usually are. But there’s a lot of work that went into all of it, which I have sometime been guilty of overlooking.

From the cars we drive, to the buses and trains someone drives everyday, to the grocery stores that stock everything you need, to the pharmacies that have the medicines you want, the Internet you can connect to at any time – ever thought about how easy everything is today?

The trash that gets collected every day, the roads that get swept, the snow that gets melted, the parks that are cleant, the trees that are grown, the boat you can just rent, the bikes you can buy – and just being able to live in a society where you have freedom and can say what you want – when you want it – its priceless.

And that’s all really, I just wanted to take a little step back and look at everything around me and wonder how lucky I was to have been born now rather than before when everything was so much harder. And maybe I should just give back at least the amount that I consume. Everyday. I try, but its probably nowhere near enough.


There’s a friend I chat with once in a way and she pinged saying that she was very tired. I asked why. As it turned out it was partly because people were giving her more and more work and exploiting her good nature, because she’d do it for free. And everyone knew that she would never say no. Sad, that there are people like this in the world – but its the truth – and one has to be strong during such times. How?

Well, the only answer to this is to say no. But of course, that’s easier said than done. The reason you’re in a spot is because you don’t know how to say no. I used to have very similar problems for a very long time, and still do, occasionally but its better. Here’s a few tips that might help.

The first thing is to ask yourself if you really want to say NO. Because, remember if you do, there’ll be less people who depend on you because you’ve now “changed”.

If you’re fine with that, then you have to start saying No. Simple as that. But start with really tiny things, with people who you know you can say No to. And if you say No, it won’t affect any of their plans as they have plenty of alternatives. They won’t think any less of you. Your relationship will not suffer even 1 bit. So all you have to do is muster the courage up and say it.

Once you realize that it wasn’t so terrible, give it a little time, pat yourself on the back that you managed to do it and file this instance away in your mind. Continue doing this with people you’re close to, until it becomes second nature.

Then, it is time to try it with acquaintances or people at work or whoever. There isn’t a need to be rude, remember. Just say, that you have other stuff you need to do, and don’t have the time. That’s it. You don’t need to justify yourself to every person you say no to. Of course, if its possible help them partially or point them out to something else – but don’t do it all. As usual. It is easy to slip back.

Over time, once you make this little adjustment in your behaviour, you’ll notice that people who seem to get in touch only when they need something, no longer do. And that’s good. You have more time and energy to spend on yourself and the people who truly matter.

Try it out. All the best.

Mark Knopfler

I enjoy my music. Music for me though is not something I live and die for. It is just an occasional form of gentle relaxation for me. Most times, its just to help me focus on work. There’s some musicians though, that amaze me with what they’re capable of doing. Pink Floyd of course for being the most complete band (vocals, lyrics and music in each song) but the more I listen to Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler, the more I marvel at the man’s genius.

Pink Floyd is cryptic, deep and at times not understandable, unless you dive deep and spend lots of time trying to figure out what they’re talking about. Its backed by some brilliant guitaring that doesn’t kill the voice and some fantastic vocals. Mark Knopfler is none of that.

All he does is think of a story and weaves it into the song. The guitaring is much more gentle, almost rocks you to sleep at times and his voice rings out clearly, without swallowing a single syllable. And that is his signature. No one (in my experience) quite tells a story in a song than Mark Knopfler.

An example is this song called ‘Sands of Nevada’ (lyrics + song) that I’ve been listening to. He beautifully outlines the story of a gambler at the famous Las Vegas casinos in Nevada and their state of mind. You understand it the first time, or maybe the 2nd or the 3rd time. Its simple. And in it, lies its beauty.

Someone had a great comment on YouTube. It really sums things up quite eloquently – much better than what I can ever say.

“Every once in a while, a volcano coughs out a diamond. And every once in a while, history produces a musician like Mark Knopfler.”

Means to an end

Lance Armstrong. The first thing you think of now is a picture of a disgraced cyclist who doped and was sacked from Livestrong.

Greg Mortenson. The first hit on Google is how he was disgraced and accused of financial misappropriation with CAI.

In one sense, I sort of agree that they should be punished for whatever they did, admitted to and all that. On the other hand, there is a part of me that’s sad whenever I see their names appear in print for the wrong reasons again and again. Here’s why:

LA doped. Fine. He cheated. Fine. The fans were cheated. Sure. Strip his title. Sure. Sue him. Sure. Take away every accolade he ever had. But what people sometimes forget, is that the testicular cancer was bone-chillingly true. And it took a fuckload of guts to come back and get on a bike again, and train again to ride the Tour De France even one more time. Unless someone can prove that he never had cancer and it was an elaborate ruse, no one can ever ever take that away from him.

Similarly, Greg Mortenson went deep into Pakistan and built schools for girls to get educated. Maybe ‘3 cups of tea‘ had some inaccuracies and maybe he went on vacations with donations and all the accusations that people make against him are 100% true. Again, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he went into a Muslim country which has a large share of radicals who are fundamentalists and would kill you if you were a non-believer. And if you try and educate girls, that’s a massive sin. He did that. Over many years. And put in a huge effort. No one can take that away from him. Unless you then say, that schools were never built by him, he ghost-built them or whatever.

But that makes me wonder then, about whether the end justifies the means. Is it okay to do anything bad as long as the end result is a really good one that benefits everyone? If that’s true, maybe even politicians are fine paying out tons of bribes. As long as the poor get fed somehow or whatever goal is achieved. Or a road built greasing a million palms along the way. And so on.

The problem with this is that while the poor get benefited, a lot of people on the way feel cheated. And they feel used. And are unable to reconcile with the goal that these people had, once they find that out.

My take is that, you can punish the person for all his misdeeds as per the law and make him apologize for everything and even jail him if so needed. But don’t.. don’t take away what he achieved. It was something that you and I would not have done, in the exact same scenario. Mostly.



A small post to wind this initial series of what has helped me in climbing so far. There are 3 intermediate feet moves that have helped me many times.

Toe Hook – The name is sort of self explanatory. You use your toe to balance against a hold while you climb.

Heel Hook – This too is self explanatory. You use your heel to balance against a hold while you climb.

The main place where I have found this useful, is when both my hands are locked up, and I cannot release them without falling off. There are no comfortable foot holds that I can step up to either, so I can risk releasing one of my hands. In short, I’m sort of locked up and cannot move unless my hands move.

At this point, try and look for a hold you can lift one of your legs towards that you can just rest a toe or a heel on to gain balance. Once you are all set there, move the opposite hand towards a hold and then move upwards. This has helped me on a number of occasions, specially on V3 and V4 problems. Hey, I might still not solve all such problems😉 but at least I’m learning new things.

Have fun climbing. Once I master a few more techniques, that I know about, but cannot use well due to a lack of skill right now – I will blog some more.


A quick post today about some intermediate handholds. There are 3 very common hand holds that I come across all the time.

The push-down or Mantle: When a hold is ridiculously large, and near your hips there is no way you can grab it, and push upward. These times you force the palm down, into the hold with a fair amount of strength and propel  your body upward. A climbing book I read described it as climbing out of a swimming pool. Whenever you see massive holds, think Mantle. The lower they are the harder it is to push off them.

The side-pull: When a hold faces you, as in, but the grip is away from you this is a side pull. One of your hands will of course hook into it, but the key here is to ensure the opposite foot is as stable as possible. If that comes off the wall, unless you’re completely stable otherwise, with both your hands and other foot (3 point contact), you can easily swing off towards the hand that held the side pull and then fall off (barn-door).

The reverse-side-pull: When the grip on the hold faces you rather than the smooth surface it is called a reverse-side-pull (gaston). Your elbow points outwards here, sometimes at a very sharp angle, as you grip the hold. Again, like the side pull and really any moves, focus on the stability of the opposite foot and keep breathing. Always. Never ever forget.

These holds can be anywhere really, and at any angle. Try and identify them on the wall relative to your body position and understand what moves to use when.